SAN DIEGO — A day off paid off handsomely for Jake Cronenworth of the San Diego Padres.
Cronenworth had his first career multi-homer game with two two-run shots and drove in a career-high six runs as the Padres beat the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers 10-3 Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak.
Cronenworth got his first day off of the season on Friday, when the Padres were routed 11-2 to fall under .500 despite having a superstar-laden lineup and baseball's third-highest payroll at just under $250 million.
“I don't like days off. But I think it was a good spot to have one,” Cronenworth said. “That's the only time I’ll ever say that.”
In a scary moment in the eighth, Brewers reliever Gus Varland was hit on the right hand then his jaw by a 105.1 mph line drive by Manny Machado, and came out of the game. The impact knocked Varland to the ground and he woozily stood up and dropped his glove as two teammates and a trainer rushed to his side. He was helped to his knees as he was tended to and then walked off the field with two trainers.
X-rays were negative and the rookie said he was OK.
“I'm more mad about that slider location,” Varland said after the game. "It felt good out of my hand, it just didn't get there. It came back at me, hit my hand and my chin and my left forearm. Kind of rocked me a little bit. I felt fine though. I felt like I could have kept going, but I think that's the adrenaline talking there.
“Don’t hang your sliders middle-middle,” Varland said. “Lesson learned."
Cronenworth, who signed an $80 million, seven-year contract two weeks earlier, hit a tiebreaking shot off the top of the right field wall with two outs in the fifth inning off Freddy Peralta (2-1) and then connected to center field with one out in the seventh off Hoby Milner. He has three homers this year. Cronenworth and Nelson Cruz drew consecutive bases-loaded walks in the eighth after Javy Guerra replaced Varland.
Cronenworth also had an RBI single in the first. Xander Bogaerts also had three hits, while Cruz had two hits and three RBIs.
The day off “came up in the dugout a couple of times. Load management,” manager Bob Melvin said. “I don’t know if that had anything to do with it. You want to get everybody involved too and sometimes a day off helps over the course of the season. He always wants to play 162, but at least I have some ammo for him the next time I give him a day off.”
San Diego had lost consecutive games to the Brewers due largely to solid outings by former Padres pitchers Colin Rea and Eric Lauer, as well as Rowdy Tellez's slugging.
The Padres twice rallied against Peralta, including in the fifth. With the score tied at 3, the 42-year-old Cruz fouled a ball off his left foot with two outs and needed a few minutes to shake it off before hitting a single to left. Cronenworth followed with a first-pitch homer.
Cruz was headed to the dugout when Croneworth scored, but turned around and the two hugged.
“I think he was just surprised that I got there that fast,” Cronenworth said. “He fouled a ball off his foot. I was trying to make him not run.”
Said Crux: “I don't have to score from first,” Cruz said with a laugh.
The Brewers had tied the game when Seth Lugo hit Jesse Winker with a pitch with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth.
Cruz and Cronenworth hit consecutive RBI singles with two outs in the first to tie the game at 2. Winker had an RBI double and Brian Anderson a run-scoring single in the top of the inning.
Lugo allowed three runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings. Peralta gave up five runs and nine hits in five innings.
Brewers: RHP Brandon Woodruff has a shoulder strain and will be sidelined longer than initially thought, manager Craig Counsell said. Woodruff, placed on the 15-day IL on Tuesday, won't do any throwing the rest of the road trip, which ends Wednesday at Seattle, and he'll be re-examined.
Padres: RHP Joe Musgrove, on the IL after breaking his left big toe in a weight room accident during spring training, is scheduled to make a rehab start Monday at Single-A Lake Elsinore.
Brewers LHP Wade Miley (1-1, 2.45) is scheduled to start Sunday's series finale against RHP Yu Darvish (0-1, 4.76).